Who Legalizes First – The United States Or Germany?
When it comes to cannabis policy there are two nations that likely have more eyes watching them right now than any other countries on the planet – Germany and the United States. It is no secret that many lawmakers in Germany are working really hard right now to determine which provisions should be included in a national cannabis legalization and industry model. It is also no secret that United States President Joe Biden recently tasked federal Departments with re-examining cannabis’ current status in the U.S.
Efforts to reform national cannabis policies in both countries are making headlines, and understandably so, as both Germany and the United States are home to two of the largest economies on earth, and both countries wield tremendous political influence around the world. However, that is not to say that the efforts in both nations are on the same trajectory or timeline, as that will almost certainly prove to not be the case. One nation is far more likely to legalize at the national level soon than the other one.
Germany Is ‘In The Lead’
One thing that is always important to point out is that nothing is guaranteed in the world of politics. With so much rhetoric being thrown around by lawmakers and aspiring lawmakers, especially these days, nearly everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt. As the old saying goes, ‘actions speak louder than words,’ and from that perspective Germany is clearly farther along in its effort to legalize nationally compared to the United States.
The current governing coalition in Germany previously announced direct intent to legalize cannabis for adult-use and to launch a regulated national industry. Since that time, many members of the governing coalition have engaged with stakeholders in multiple ways, gaining insight and feedback, and working meaningfully towards their goal. The process is not going as fast as many had hoped, however, just as Rome wasn’t built in a day the same is obviously true for a country trying to launch what will instantly become the world’s largest regulated cannabis market by far.
Compare that to the United States where things are much more fractured, both from a governing standpoint and an industry standpoint. Yes, President Biden did issue pardons for simple possession and tasked Department leaders with re-examining cannabis’ current federal status. However, that is not the same as Biden taking the lead on pushing for a regulated national industry. It’s quite possible that nothing could occur between now and when Biden is up for re-election, and it’s anyone’s guess where things go from there if/when he is not re-elected.
Furthermore, Biden can only do so much, as the burden for much of the work that needs to be performed lies on the shoulders of Congress. The current Congress has failed to get even a limited legalization measure passed, and with another election looming next month, the deck will be re-shuffled and likely in a manner that doesn’t move the needle. In fact, if the needle is moved, it will likely be in the wrong direction given historical midterm election trends in the U.S.
Adding To Momentum
Make no mistake – both the United States and Germany will legalize federally sooner rather than later, although, Germany is likely to do so on a quicker timeline compared to the U.S. Whereas Germany will presumably legalize nationally in one fell swoop, the U.S. will continue to see state after state pass their own legalization measures until the point where it reaches such a critical mass that it tips the scales. And just as every state that legalizes adds to the momentum for federal reform in the U.S., so too will legalization in Germany add to the momentum of efforts in the U.S.
The United States would be a larger domino between the two countries given that the United States has historically led the charge on prohibition and its economy is bigger. Yet, that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon in the U.S. The two largest economies behind the United States are China and Japan, and neither of those countries will be legalizing anytime soon, unfortunately. That puts the spotlight squarely on Germany, and once the German prohibition domino falls it’s going to speed things up everywhere else on earth, including in the United States.